Minutes of Standing Committee Meetin at the Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt University, Berlin

Meeting for the development of Guidelines for Library Services to People who are Experiencing Homelessness
20 February 2016, 13:30-18:00

SC members:
Misako Nomura
Nancy Bolt
Erlend Ra
Knut M. Nygaard
Heidi Carlsson Asplund
Chris Corrigan
Marie-Noelle Andissac
Sanja Bunic
Anne Sieberns
Marie Engberg Eiriksson

Corresponding members:
Helle Arendrup Mortensen
Dunja Marija Gabriel
Gerhard Peschers

Elke Greifeneder, Berlin School of Library and Information Science
Kirsten Schlebbe, Berlin School of Library and Information Science

Julie Ann Winkelstein, University of Tennessee, USA (via Skype)
Despina Gerasimidou, Future library, Greece

1. Welcome and Introductions
Sanja thanked everyone present for attending the meeting in order to take further steps regarding the development of the Guidelines. Julie and Despina are introduced as new members of the working group for the development of the Guidelines.

2. Review of the Proposal for developing the Guidelines
Sanja gave a review of the IFLA Professional Committee (PC) comments and suggestions to the proposal for developing the Guidelines.
PC approved grant and encouraged our work which is in line with IFLA goals. They thought the timeline was too short and we will consider revision.
Julie will join us as the consultant in the grant. Despina will advise on the matter of refugees.
PC also wanted us to cooperate with FEANTSA, regional IFLA Sections, especially Africa and LAC, Public Libraries, Library Services to Multicultural Populations,  Indigenous Matters, Libraries for Children and Young Adults.
Sanja will talk with Public Libraries Section during their mid-year meeting in Zagreb. We can ask them to review the Guidelines.
We will invite other sections to our session dedicated to presenting the first draft of the Guidelines and the special meeting for the Guidelines in Columbus.
IFLA will do the final editing but they want a committee member who speaks English as a first language to do the preliminary editing. Julie and Nancy will do this.
Sanja also shared comments and suggestions of reviewers of the proposal on specific aspects of developing the Guidelines:            

a) Name of the Guidelines
IFLA suggested adding both poor and refugees into the name of the Guidelines. We decided not to do this because people experiencing homelessness are a social group with specific needs. They also face specific barriers in accessing library services, different than poor and refugees. We chose the name Guidelines for Library Services to People Experiencing  Homelessness.

b) Collaboration with other IFLA units
PLS has declined to work on the Guidelines but would like to read and endorse when they are done. We could invite other sections to comment on the Guidelines by coming to our program. Also they could review the Guidelines at the meeting after the program. Misako will issue the invitations to other sections.   

c) Extension of the working group members
Nancy has a contact with a social worker Elissa Hardy from the Denver Public Library.  The group would like her to write a paper on how social workers can work with libraries and people experiencing homelessness and to make recommendations.  Nancy will ask her if she will do this. Sanja knows a psychologist Dragana Knezi? with whom she collaborated on library services for people experiencing homelessness. Dragana will work on recommendations from psychologists. Despina Gerasimidou will work on recommendations about library services to refugees, also in comparison to homeless people.

d) Results of the process of collecting examples of good practices
We received 37 examples, most from USA, as of the February meeting. We will extend the process of collecting examples till the end of March. Sanja would like more examples from undeveloped countries. Sanja asked Misako to ask the chair of the Africa section to see if we can get some examples.
We are trying to get examples from Russia. Knut will contact the library from Murmansk.
We have only 8 examples from Europe. Members of the committee sent messages to many countries but got no response. We will make additional efforts and translate the Call for examples in Spanish and Russian.
Despina reported on activities in Greece working with refugees and the contribution of Future Library to the issue. She sent examples of 8 libraries from Greece which organize library services for refugees.

f) Time frame    
Write the draft between March and June.
Have the first draft done and ready to edit in June.
Review in August.
Correction, extension and editing of the first draft in September.
World wide reviewing process between October and November.
Revision and edits based on comments between December and January.
Send the document to PC by the end of January.

3. Programme in Columbus
(The description below has been revised since the meeting in Berlin.)

LSN Session
      5 minutes       Introductions – Misako
      5 minutes       Video – Sanja
      20 minutes    Guidelines – Julie   
      60 minutes    4 presentations:
         Social worker
         2 librarians
         UN speaker
    25 minutes    Panel and questions from audience  Nancy
    5 minutes      Wrap up – Julie
Potential questions for  the panel:
What is the most important thing that can be done?
What do you think about the Guidelines?
Would these Guidelines help you in your work with people experiencing homelessness?

Speaker for Division session
Sanja will present representative examples of best practices and write a paper.    

4. Overlapping people experiencing homelessness – refugees
We had an extensive discussion about the issue. We compared the two in the chart below.

Overlapping issues


No permanent address  (shelters/refugees), difficulty in getting library cards

Causes, Refugees leave country because of political/religious persecution.

Typically homeless because of mental issues, abuse, economic reasons

Homeless in a society they know; refugees in a strange situation

Out of school/out of work

Different mental disorders

Attitudes toward them

Languages and cultural barriers for refugees

Library as a safe place

Legal protection

Need access to local information

Individuals  (homeless) vs families as refugees

Broken social network

Homeless people may know where library is/refugees would not

Both may have suffered traumatic experiences

Refugees are outreach programs, homeless come to the library


5. Writing a draft of the Guidelines
According to the outline below we divided responsibilities in writing the Guidelines. (Since the meeting in Berlin the outline has been expanded.)

Preface – Sanja and Marie
Introduction – Sanja

  1. Issue of homelessness – Sanja and Marie
  2. Issue of human rights – Anne
  3. Meeting the Needs of People Experiencing Homelessness
    3.1 Attitudes toward homelessness – Julie
    3.2 Services, description of programs, collaboration and cooperation, referrals –Nancy
    3.3.Policies, effects of policies, challenges – Julie
    3.4 Target audience – Julie
    3.5 Refugees – Despina and Julie
    3.6 Outcomes, needs assessment of services, evaluation – Nancy
  4. Staff, professional support, training  – Vikki C. Terril
  5. Communication and advocacy – Sanja


Non-professional psycho-social support – Dragana Knezic
Social Work in Libraries – Elissa Hardy
Sample training materials – Ryan Dowd
Action plan – Julie